Top 5 Supplements for Gaining Weight
by Dr. Surya Bhagwati on Feb 15, 2021
Because of our sedentary lifestyles and ultra-processed diets, much of the world is in the grip of an obesity epidemic. For this reason, we are constantly bombarded with advertisements and products aimed at weight loss, from fad diets and workouts to diet pills. Given this situation, it’s easy to overlook the plight of individuals who are underweight and struggle to gain weight. However, being too skinny or underweight is just as much of a concern, posing a health risk too. At the same time there are also people who struggle to gain muscle mass when on a diet and exercise routine. Whether you are clinically underweight or want to bulk up with muscle mass, you can use a number of supplements to achieve these goals.
Top 5 Supplements for Weight Gain
Protein supplements are known to be effective for gaining muscle mass and are absolutely essential if you want to bulk up. However, they can also help with weight gain if you are underweight. Protein supplements in the form of protein shakes or bars can be a particularly effective way to boost protein intake if you workout and aren’t getting enough of the nutrient from your diet.
In general, it is advisable that you get at least 30-35 percent of your calories from protein. Going beyond this will throw your nutrition out of balance as it would mean inadequate intake of other nutrients. You should also keep in mind that the results will be determined by the manner of consumption. Protein consumption is after all, also known to aid weight loss. To promote weight gain, make sure that your total caloric intake is high.
2. Herbal Weight Gainers
In addition to protein, Ayurvedic herbs can be extremely effective at remedying malnutrition, malabsorption of nutrients, weak immunity, and other problems that can restrict weight gain. Although you could include some Ayurvedic herbs and spices like amla, lavang, elaichi, and jayfal in your diet, it would be best to look for an Ayurvedic appetite booster medicine that contains all of these herbs.
Ayurvedic herbs like amla, elaichi, lavang, jayfal, nagarmotha, tejpatra, and shahjira are most noted for strengthening agni and their proven digestive health benefits, which can aid nutrient absorption and consequently weight gain.
Creatine is an organic compound that is found naturally in body cells, particularly in muscles and the brain. Described as an amino acid, creatine is mainly obtained from seafood and red meat, while your liver, pancreas, and kidneys also produce small amounts of creatine. For many, dietary intake is not an option, making creatine supplements popular and helpful, especially if you workout.
Creatine plays a critical role in performance and energy production, with studies showing that supplementation can promote improvements in performance and greater muscle gain. When choosing a creatine supplement, opt for creatine monohydrate, as this is the most heavily researched type of creatine.
4. Fish Oil
Almost all healthy diets include ‘fatty fish’ like salmon because of their high content of healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids and protein. However, fish oil supplements are almost entirely fat and they can also help you gain weight. Consuming fish oil supplements will add to your caloric intake after all and this ultimately translates into weight gain.
The main drawback with fish oil supplements is that it is off limits for our largely vegetarian population. Moreover, nutrients like omega-3s can also be obtained from nuts and seeds. Besides, fish oil supplements may not work for weight gain, unless they are raising your caloric intake adequately.
5. Weight Gainers
Weight gainers that are in the category of supplements can be obtained over the counter and they are not very different from protein supplements. They are basically calorie dense supplements aimed at people who have trouble gaining weight. They offer a convenient and easy way to raise calorie intake without having to increase food intake.
Most weight gainer supplements are high in carbs and protein, with some single dose supplements giving you over a thousand calories. Of course, the best way to increase caloric intake is by eating healthy foods.
Increased protein intake and the use of herbs would be the best and safest choices for natural weight gain. However, there are some situations in which these efforts may simply not work. If you experience sudden weight loss, continued weight loss, or simply cannot gain weight after trying these supplements for a period of time, you should consult a doctor. Weight loss and low bodyweight can sometimes be linked to undiagnosed problems of an overactive thyroid, gastrointestinal disorders, or cancer.
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- Branch, J David. “Effect of creatine supplementation on body composition and performance: a meta-analysis.” International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism vol. 13,2 (2003): 198-226. doi:10.1123/ijsnem.13.2.198
- Rozenek, R et al. “Effects of high-calorie supplements on body composition and muscular strength following resistance training.” The Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness vol. 42,3 (2002): 340-7. PMID: 12094125